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Synaesthetic associations

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Abstract

While colour terms are occasionally used to describe a voice metaphorically, people with a neurological multi-sensory condition called synaesthesia have non-metaphorical, automatic and involuntary colour associations with the sound of a voice. After extensive research on other types of synaesthesia, this study is the first to investigate voice-induced synaesthesia on a group level, and to compare results with phoneticians and control participants. It was found that pitch and pitch range of a voice influenced brightness and colour associations with a voice for all groups. Group differences were mainly found in verbal descriptions of the voices: many synaesthetes used their additional perceptions to describe the voice, phoneticians used technical terms, and controls mostly described (personality) characteristics of the speaker.

References

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